Pregnancy: Are heart palpitations normal during pregnancy?

This is my wife's first pregnancy and she is in her seventh month. Starting around her fifth month she started experiencing a racing heart -- two to three times each day -- lasting just a few seconds. Last week she got very uncomfortable, with palpitations almost every half-hour. I'm a paramedic so I put her on an EKG after calling the doctor. Her EKG was normal. Is this anything to be concerned about?


Peg Plumbo CNM

Peg Plumbo has been a certified nurse-midwife (CNM) since 1976. She has assisted at over 1,000 births and currently teaches in the... Read more

What a gift to have a husband or partner so concerned and involved. And how handy to be able to do an EKG on the spot.

Maternal heart palpitations are common in pregnancy, most likely representing PVCs -- the feeling that your heart is racing or beating irregularly.

I recently attended a seminar where one of the speakers talked about cardiac problems in pregnancy. She re-emphasized the normalcy of this, due to the increased blood volume which peaks at 28 to 32 weeks. The stroke volume of the heart increases and under the influence of progesterone, the heart can beat irregularly occasionally. The speaker did mention that if there are symptoms of dizziness or shortness of breath, or if the client has had some history of cardiac problems, she should be seen right away, but for most this is very normal.

I hope this has been helpful and that these heart changes resolve. Good luck.

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